Careers & Training, Driver education, Electric vehicle, EV, Warehouse training

Double the glory for Queensland transport operator

It’s shaping up to be quite a big month for All Purpose Transport (APT), which was presented with awards at two separate events – both held at the weekend on Saturday, September 9.

At the 2023 Queensland Training Awards, APT was one of 14 winners, taking home the gong for Medium Employer of the Year.

While at the Queensland Trucking Association’s (QTA) annual Road Freight Industry Awards, held at the Royal International Convention Centre (RICC) in Brisbane, APT was awarded the Innovation Award.

Started in 1975, APT now employs over 120 staff and 300 owner-drivers. Its head office is located in Berrinba, with another depot on the Sunshine Coast. APT services Queensland, providing taxi truck, furniture delivery, heavy haulage transport and courier services.

APT’s head of people and safety, Belinda Polglase, said it was great to be nominated for both awards and exciting to walk away with the wins. “There were two groups of us at each event. Normally I would have been at the QTA event as I’ve gone every year for however long but as I look after training, I went along to the Queensland Training Awards.”

The Queensland Training Awards were held in Brisbane. They showcase great work in vocational education and training (VET) state-wide, with categories honouring apprentices, trainees, vocational students, teachers and trainers, training providers and employers.

APT’s training program ‘Project APT’ is now in its 11th year and provides the opportunity to earn a qualification. In that time, over 500 workers have received a Certificate III or higher.

All Purpose Transport’s long serving warehousing team. Three of the team members alone have a combined 52.5 years of service.

Polglase explained that the Project APT training program has seen staff gain formal qualifications relevant to their field of employment. “2011 is when we did a big roll out of the program across the business, for all staff as well as our owner drivers. They’re representing our business so it’s important to know that they’re properly trained. We’ve actually found this to be a really good way of validating the training we do in house-through external qualifications.

“We partnered with TAFE back in 2011 and still work with TAFE now. For driver operations, there’s a trainer that goes out in the truck with the drivers. There is also a 12-month personal development program for people aspiring to develop themselves and progress into management roles. They come out of that training with a Certificate IV in Leadership and Management as a base qualification, however most employees enrolled in that program are now going for their diploma and advanced diploma.

“Then there’s the next level of training for the executive leadership team. Our focus on training doesn’t stop at any given level for our employees, it always continues throughout their journey.”

APT won the state training award after coming out on top in the regional awards a few months prior, where it won in the South East category. The company will now go up against other state winners to compete for national accolades at the Australian Training Awards in Hobart on Friday November 17.

While at the QTA awards, it was APT’s path to electrification that saw the company walk away with the win.

APT was recognised for its ‘Project EV: Sparking the Last Mile – a zero emissions vehicle transition strategy’.

The primary goal of Project EV is to explore and implement sustainable delivery methods for last-mile operations and significantly reduce emissions from delivery activities while ensuring that APT’s owner-driver business model remains intact during the transition to electric vehicles (EVs).

APT was the first transport company in Queensland to commence new furniture home delivery services with an electric vehicle.

As Polglase explained, “One of our key contracts is with IKEA, which is obviously a global company. They have set a global target of wanting to reach 100 per cent emission free vehicles by 2025, so we’ve been on that journey with them for a little while now. However it’s really developed and taken off in the past year or so, because technology has advanced a lot more in that timeframe.”

The first truck used as part of Project EV was actually a converted diesel truck. “This vehicle had the engine removed and was fitted with an electric motor and battery, There are a few more options out there now and costs have come down from where they started. When you factor in the savings you make – you don’t have the cost of diesel, there’s the cost of electricity versus diesel and the fact that you don’t have the same maintenance costs as you do with a diesel engine – over five years or so, an electric vehicle is quite a viable option.”

Polglase added that Project EV has been a great journey for the company. “There was always the concern at the beginning of whether the EVs could keep up with the capabilities of a diesel – and they certainly do. We started off doing deliveries within a close radius to our base, but now we have them going down to the Gold Coast and other areas slightly further afield. Our owner drivers are getting on board with it too. The drivers on those runs have learned where the charging stations are so they factor that into their runs.”

Though the project started with IKEA, Polglase says that several of APT’s larger customers are seeing the benefits of going electric.

At the end of July 2023, APT had 10 electric vehicles operating in Brisbane, with Polglase revealing there will be more delivered this year and into the new year, bringing the number up to 16 by 2024. APT’s goal is to increase its EV fleet to over 30 vehicles operating around South-East Queensland by the end of 2025.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend